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Windows 11 may soon warn people on unsupported PCs with a watermark

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Surface Studio (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is testing a watermark to warn people that run Windows 11 on unsupported pieces of hardware.
  • A warning message in the Settings app also appears within the latest insider builds of Windows 11.
  • The warnings appear within the latest Insider builds of Windows 11.

If you run Windows 11 on unsupported pieces of hardware, you may soon see a couple of warnings. Microsoft is testing two types of warnings in the latest Insider builds of Windows 11. In those builds, the operating system will show a message on the desktop that states "system requirements not met" for any PCs that fall short of Windows 11's needed specs. A similar message will appear within the Settings app if a PC doesn't meet the Windows 11 minimum requirements.

Twitter user Albacore spotted the warning message within the Settings app earlier this month.

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Outlets, including the Verge, have since spotted the watermark on the desktop. The watermarks don't stop a PC from functioning, but they let people know that they aren't using Windows as part of an ideal setup. Microsoft uses a similar tactic to inform people that they have not activated Windows.

The minimum requirements of Windows 11 caused controversy among PC owners. The required specs are relatively high and include very specific components. The steps to upgrade an unsupported computer to Windows 11 are straightforward, but you may soon see a couple of warnings if you choose to go that route.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

11 Comments
  • Microsoft recommends Chrome OS Flex for a seamless experience!!!
  • Hahaha that's the spirit Guy Fawkes
  • That will suck
  • "The required specs are relatively high and include very specific components." That's a bit overblown. While there are a lot of in-use devices that don't meet the requirements, and a lot of perfectly good ones, most PCs built in the last 4 years or so will work just fine. In 3 years when Win 10 sundowns, most of those PCs will be 7-8 years old. I have a 15" Dell XPS that is only unsupported because of the processor family. I'm using it as an Insider device. Runs Win 11 fine but it was bought in 2015. In 2025 it will be 10 years old. Little annoying but really, can't gripe too much.
  • I said relatively for a reason lol.
  • You do realize that microsoft could enable the extra security on devices that meet requirements, and encourage everyone to upgrade…thereby everyone being on the same version. What they’re doing should be illegal. Setting minimum specs to sell more hardware. Have you or anyone seen any articles where your non-compliant PC is being actively exploited by a non-compliant virus? Nope. Which is why their arbitrary minimum specs are complete bullshit.
  • "What they’re doing should be illegal." There's no way it could be. Governments can't tell the difference between an OS maker flexing market power by restricting support and an OS maker putting reasonable limits on future expenses (wider support = more expense on OS development and revenue from new features postponed). Besides, governments all around the world have been tolerant of this kind of platform building, and not just for software platforms. Take camera manufacturers and lens support, or device manufacturers and connector support. It's a double-edged sword: you can buttress your business empire with moves like that, or you can go down very, very quickly because you don't have wide enough support.
  • Also, MS recognizes that the lifecycle of a PC may well reach upwards of 7+ years. Minimum hardware specs are an artificial barrier to entry. The real reason for the min spec is hardware vendors are terrified by the longevity and lengthening PC lifecycle.
  • MS keeps coming up with fancy new ways to encourage people to not adopt and every reason to abandon Windows. It’s a sign that they have too much marketshare and have enjoyed that dominance far too long. Someone needs to make a better full-featured customizable OS. MS management and engineers are full of themselves and their own excess self-importance. Windows 11 is a downgrade.
  • W11 uptake so far has been fast, and Windows remains completely dominant. I don't see how any of this is going to make anyone "abandon Windows" especially since this is just a message in the OS, not an actual restriction on usage. Plus you'll still have fully-supported W10 until 2025. I hear you about MS's past behavior but this isn't 2004.
  • This is stupid. I've got Windows 11 running on my almost 8 year old Yoga 2 Pro, and it works fine. I don't need to stare at some watermark telling me nothing new...